How BookTok has strengthened the relationship between readers, writers and booksellers


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The #BookTok hashtag has over 25 billion views on TIkTok, which has resulted in an increase in book sales since it began trending.

Somewhere on an unassuming corner of the internet rests BookTok. Home to passionate reviews, storytimes and book hauls, BookTok is a place where readers gather to share their love of literature.

BookTok is a community of users on the popular social media platform TikTok, where people can connect with other readers and share their favorite new stories. For many people, reading is a form of escapism where they can relieve stress by entering a new world.

“Books I relate to act as sort of catharsis for me; when the main character is able to work out something that I’m currently trying to work out,” Natalie Hayner, an English literature student at St. Edward’s University, said.

BookTok has flourished in the last year, and as of October, books with the BookTok hashtag have been viewed 25 billion times.

With the growing popularity of this platform, booksellers and authors are starting to take notice. Major retail stores like Barnes and Noble cater to this new form of media by creating BookTok tables right in the center of their stores. These tables are consistently updated with  feature books that have gone viral.

“[The BookTok table] has boomed,” Michelle Cortez, manager and social media coordinator at Barnes and Noble in Sunset Valley, said. “BookTok used to be a smaller table. We’ve had to move it to a larger table… for a lot of people that is the first place they’ll go look.”

BookTok’s impact on publishing also shouldn’t be overlooked. For many authors, BookTok has propelled their books to the top of bestseller lists even years after their original publication. 

MJ Woodman, or @mjwoodman on TikTok, is a young adult fantasy writer and author of “Divine” considers BookTok to be the most informative platform for receiving feedback. 

“BookTok has allowed me to decipher current trends in literature…This has helped me planning future novels and also understanding the critiques and praises of my debut novel,” Woodman said.

In addition to being a way for authors to directly connect to their readers, TikTok serves as a means for promoting their books. Participating in popular BookTok trends and giving a behind-the-scenes look at authors’ writing processes can inspire excitement for their work and make them more personable to their audience.

“TikTok has certainly been the most useful platform for promoting my novel. It is also the platform where I have received the most encouragement and support….I firmly believe that TikTok is the greatest tool for authors, especially those who have self-published, in promoting their work,” Woodman said.

Ultimately, TikTok’s accessibility and ability to introduce even the most well read readers to unfamiliar titles and topics makes BookTok very appealing.

“When I was in highschool, obviously TikTok wasn’t a thing, but if it had been, I would’ve had a whole world opened to me,” Hayner said. “Books maybe I’d never heard of, classics I’d never heard of… It’s for everybody and it makes (literature) more accessible and interesting to people who maybe don’t consider themselves avid readers.”

BookTokkers have permanently changed the way authors, publishers and booksellers will consider consumers. BookTok has given a voice to and illustrated the life of a community that was not so visible before.  

“The consumers of my content have made a huge and noticeable difference to not only my book sales but also my confidence as an author seeking to share and promote my book,” Woodman said. “The positive reinforcement and validation from BookTok has encouraged me in my future aspirations as an author. I also believe that it has provided me with a support network that would be otherwise difficult to garner without social media.” 

BookTok was entirely unexpected, but its impact has certainly cemented its place in the literary world.